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Archive for February, 2009

9-3 Turbo X Wagon: Saab’s Munster Koach – Colorado Daily

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

From Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

Saab 9-3 Turbo X Wagon: Saab’s Munster Koach – Colorado Daily

By Casey Williams — Monday, October 13, 2008 

Load up the kiddies, the Cannondales, the kayaks and blast them to Hades – Saab has the most evil-looking wagon since George Barris created The Munsters’ Koach. Although the Saab doesn’t run on embalming fluid or a Mustang GT V8 engine, it does share the Koach’s black paint and sinister, road hugging, persona. 

Now almost synonymous with Turbo, Saab debuted its first one on the 99 CombiCoupe in 1978. As with the original turbo 99 and 900 models, the dark and ominous 2008 Saab Turbo X features jet-black paint – now metallic. A matte black grille treatment simulates titanium while eighteen-inch 3-spoke wheels, twin tailpipes, and a rear spoiler further distinguish it from lesser 9-3s while linking it to its ancestors. Interiors are outfitted with bolstered black leather sport seats, carbon fibre finishes on the dash and doors, special gauges, and a thick-rimmed steering wheel. It looks ready to slay Volvos, feeling the part as soon as you slip inside. 

Along with all other 2008 9-3 models, the Turbo X was designed to reflect a more aggressive aero-inspired exterior and Scandinavian interior themes driven from the recent Aero X concept car. Smoked taillamps and upswept headlamps with “eyebrow” lighting are modern and refined. Interiors are less cluttered with fewer niblet-sized buttons, adopting GM’s Black Tie radio design and ergonomic climate controls. Saab’s traditional driver-focused dashboard, large analog gauges, businesslike controls, and console-mounted ignition switch are as they should be. The nighttime lighting mode, which extinguishes all but essential gauges, is nice to the eyes. True to Scandinavian tradition, everything is high quality, but never ostentatious. Think IKEA with attitude. 

Boring people may drive the sedan, but enthusiasts with a sense of adventure will choose the SportCombi wagon in which there is plenty of cargo room, especially with the rear seats folded, to tote your IKEA wares. While I had the car, I picked up my grandmother for lunch. Not only was she comfortable in her leather-bolstered seat, but her walker also fit very easily beneath the rear hatch. A bicycle, stroller, or tailgate party consumables can be consumed in whole. 

Unlike the original “black turbos” that spun power from four-cylinder engines, the latest one makes whoopee with a 280-horsepower, 24-valve, 2.8-litre V6. An eager amount of torque (295 lb.-ft.) comes online at 2,150 rpm and stays until 4,500 rpm. Peak horsepower is made at 5,500 rpm. What you notice is surging power off the line and open lungs way above legal speeds. Buyers can choose between a six-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is rated 15/24-MPG city/hwy. 

Saab’s XWD all-wheel-drive system gets all of that power to the ground without drama. Very sophisticated, the system can shift power from front to rear and from side to side, depending on traction and road conditions. 

Four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, electronic stability control, electronic brake force distribution, and traction control insure every bit of friction is used to the max. Engineers tuned the chassis for a stiff and solid ride for a good balance of performance feel and long-distance comfort. The car was also lowered 10mm to coax even more ability from of the car’s chassis. 

One look at the Munster Koach tells you Mr. Barris had little concern for safety. Saabs, on the other hand, offer exemplary safety. Like any good European car, the 9-3 comes standard with dual front airbags, front side airbags, and side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers. Almost everything in the cabin is softly padded, including front knee bolsters, to protect soft humans. Front seats feature active headrests that move forward in an accident to prevent whiplash. All seating positions hold passengers in with three-point belts. Of course strong safety cage construction beneath the skin works to prevent intrusion from the front, rear, and sides. 

Saabs are as sophisticated in safety as they are in active handling and performance. 

Whether you choose the Turbo X sedan or SportCombi wagon, you’ll drive a world-class car that can run with some of the best sport sedans and wagons in the world, but with a sense of practicality that can only come from Sweden. A powerful turbocharged V6 engine, angry ground affects, and black paint give it attitude that would make George Barris proud. 

Saab Best Overall Brand Buy – Autropolis.Com

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

From Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

Saab Best Overall Brand Buy – Driving Smart with Sheryll Alexander

By Sheryll Alexander – September 18, 2008 

It’s too bad Saab is often an overlooked brand because this GM-owned Scandinavian automaker has it all: fun to drive, above average fuel economy, safety that rivals its nemesis Volvo and even sexy good looks.

Another reason to buy Saab?  The price and fuel economy. The MSRP of a base Saab 9-3 is just $28,835. And, seven of Saab’s 9-3 models get 27 mpg or better.

Last year, I spent a few days with Saab executives at uber hip Tower 23 on San Diego’s Pacific Beach. There, I unknowingly met legendary Swedish racer Erik Carlsson in the elevator. “My knees hurt,” says this old, yet spry guy as we were lifted up to the ocean view third floor. Only later at the hip poolside cocktail party did I learn why Carlsson’s knees blew out: decades of driving his big frame in Saab rally cars with a string of wins including back-to-back victories at the Monte Carlo Rally in 1962 and 1963.

That history of performance via Saab’s jet and racing roots now features cross-wheel drive (XWD) technology. “True to its Scandinavian origins, Saab has built a large part of its reputation on excellent road manners under difficult driving conditions like rain, sleet and snow,” says Saab general manager Steve Shannon. “Our new cross-wheel-drive technology, which delivers unprecedented levels of driver involvement and dynamic chassis control, further illustrates Saab’s commitment to offering active safety in sporty, efficient and driver-focused vehicles.”

What is cross wheel drive? Saab explains it as a “pre-emptive engagement of the rear wheels to optimize traction at take-off” and “an electronically controlled rear limited-slip differential (eLSD) that allows variable torque transfer between the rear wheels.”

Now I don’t drive in much rain and no sleet or snow. My road test tracks are located on pristine stretchs of California’s sunny Orange County coastline. But I’ve road tested enough Saab 9-3s and 9-5s to know that Saab vehicles have excellent handling and can be comparable to its competition in BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Audi, VW and Volvo. Saab handling has that rare combination of thrilling, sporty and agile.

For 2009 models, CWD is available on Saab 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan, SportCombi and its new 2.0T Sport. (CWD was featured on 2008 model 9-3s including the Aero V6 and the limited edition Turbo X Sport Sedan and Sport Combi.)

If you are thinking about buying a 2009 Saab, here’s a look at the lineup of sedans and sport wagons:

Saab 9-3 2.0T Sport Sedan

Saab 9-3 2.0T SportCombi

Saab 9-3 2.0T XWD Sport Sedan

Saab 9-3 2.0T XWD SportCombi

Saab 9-3 Aero V6T XWD Sport Sedan

Saab 9-3 Aero V6T XWD SportCombi

Saab 9-3 2.0T Convertible

Saab 9-3 Aero V6T Convertible

Saab 9-5 2.3T Sedan

Saab 9-5 2.3T SportCombi

Saab 9-5 Aero Sedan

Saab 9-5 Aero SportCombi

And finally in 2009, Saab has broken out of the sport sedan mode to bring drivers a mid-sized SUV. Saab’s 9-7X seems destined to bring all of Saab’s economy, performance and good looks to the luxury SUV market.

The 2009 Saab 9-7X comes in Aero (MSRP $47,425), 4.2i (MSRP $40,935) and 5.3i ($43,665) models.  A limited edition 9-7X Altitude Edition is offered in the 4.2i and 5.3i models and includes touch screen infotainment and NAV systems, 18-inch alloy wheels and carbon flash as well as the diamond silver metallic color.
More statistics found at:

Showing Saab’s commitment to alternative fuels, the brand has been taking its 2008 Saab 9-X BioHybrid on a national tour this year. In fact, Saab’s 9-X BioHybrid was voted “Specialty Concept Car of the Year” by a panel of prestigious North American automotive journalists.

Saab also says the 9-X BioHybrid was built for a younger driver and, therefore, places emphasis on what I believe is the future in cars: “progressive looks, responsible performance and high-tech communications, all in a sporty, fun-to-drive package. “

Now that’s a perfect description of what makes Saab a best overall brand buy.

Sheryll Alexander is a lifestyles writer based in Costa Mesa, California 

GM, Sweden Hastening to Close Saab Deal

Monday, February 9th, 2009

from Jan-Willem Vester
Manager, Saab Automobile USA Corporate Communications

GM, Sweden Hastening to Close Saab Deal – Edmunds AutoObserver

By Bill Visnic— February 9, 2009

A report from Europe late last week says General Motors Corp. and the government of Sweden could be hurrying to broker an arrangement for GM’s wholly-owned Saab Automobile AB that would effectively re-establish Saab as an independent automaker.

GM’s Carl-Peter Forster was reported as saying GM and the Swedish government are working quickly to refine the details of a deal – authorized and financed by Sweden – that would establish independent, Sweden-based management for Saab and re-establish most, if not all, of the company’s auto manufacturing once again in the Scandinavian nation, said a story by Britain’s AutoCar magazine.

GM is rushing to tie-up the plan so that Saab might at least technically no longer be a part of GM when the company presents its next restructuring blueprint to Congress Feb. 17 and other federal entities in order to be considered “viable” and worthy of receiving continued government funding.

Although Sweden reputedly continues to stress it has no interest in owning Saab, government representatives have said the country would help fund a plan to separate Saab from GM and help establish a new ownership structure, perhaps a coalition of investors.

GM likely will return the brand back to Sweden at virtually no cost for the benefit of showing U.S. government accountants money-losing Saab has been permanently shifted from GM’s ledgers, while also demonstrating the company plans to focus its restructuring investment on its U.S. brands.

A deal to return Saab to indigenous control likely would not mean an abrupt end to manufacturing and engineering ties with GM, however; GM almost assuredly would continue to furnish Saab with design, manufacturing and engineering support, as at least three new Saabs based on GM-designed platforms are well along the development path.

Saab already is near completion of a new and long-overdue replacement for the 9-5 full-size sedan later this year (the current 9-5 went on sale as a ’98 model) and also has similar launch timing for the production version of the 9-4X BioPower concept crossover, a model based on the underpinnings of the recently unveiled 2010 Cadillac SRX.

And late last year, industry rumors said Saab was examining independent development of a compact car, ostensibly badged 9-1, to compete with fuel-efficient premium cars such as the BMW 1-Series and Mini Cooper. That car reputedly would assume the styling of the 9-X BioHybrid concept.